Finding Affiliate Programs – 4 Time Saving Research Questions
When researching an affiliate program, there are a number of questions you should ask before determining whether or not you want to associate with a particular online merchant. However, to save you time, there are four items you should initially investigate before proceeding. Ask the following questions in the order given and if any of the answers do not measure up, then it's time to leave that affiliate program in the dust and move on.
1. Is There an Affiliate Agreement?
If the merchant does not include an affiliate agreement, then you may as well head on down the highway. Under no circumstances should you become associated with a merchant without the terms of your affiliation are clearly stated . Without an affiliate agreement, you likely will not even be able to find the answers to your remaining questions anyway.
2. Is There a Fee to Join the Program?
This one is pretty cut-and-dry. If you have to pay to join an affiliate program, then it's really NOT an affiliate program and you do not want to go there. Once again, move to the next one on your list.
This is not as much of an issue as it used to be. Most merchants seem to have figured out by now that they can not put too much control on how an affiliate runs their business. Exclusivity is a condition that should be outlined in the affiliate agreement and states that an affiliate can not promote products or services of a direct competitor of that merchant.
For example, if you run a pet supply related web site and you affiliate with 'XYZ Pet Supplies' who has an exclusivity condition, then you likely will not be permitted to associate with PETsMART, PETCO, 1-800-PETMEDS, or any of the other big online merchants. This obviously puts a severe damper on your ability to run your business.
If you do happen to run across an affiliate program with an exclusivity clause, then do not even bother with them. Move on.
4. Is Your Web Site Eligible?
Obviously, if your web site does not meet the eligibility requirements of a particular affiliate program, there's no sense in continuing. Many merchants simply want to make sure your site is not offensive in any way, so as to not alienate potential customers. Other merchants are very picky about who they allow to affiliate with them and set certain standards that affiliate web sites must meet.
Along the same lines, as an affiliate, you need to determine whether it makes sense for your web site to promote the goods or services of any given merchant. Using the pet supply example again, why on Earth would you want to promote a merchant's auto parts when your site focuses on pets? You'd be surprised at how many affiliate programs automatically accept applicants.
Researching and joining affiliate programs can be a very time-consuming process. If you follow the steps outlined above, you can quickly weed out the undesirables and continue research on only those affiliate programs that may actually be worth your time.